Jamie takes me into a small classroom. My bones ache and I'm tired. My mom had woken up early in the morning and she had thought that I had taken something away from her. I'm trying to be awake, the bags under my eyes says it all.
"Did you sleep last night?"
I don't know if I would be honest or not.
He looks at me suspiciously. He shows me away to a chair and a bench. I sit down and he sits down next to me. He takes out a pen, a paper and a book. He put the paper in front of me and he gives me the pen. Then he opens the book and a letter appears.
"Do you know what this is?"
I wrinkled my nose and I nodded. He smiles a little bit, and he put the book above paper.
"It's an A ..."
I did know that... maybe not .... but I've seen the A's before.
"Write an A on the paper. I want us to start from the beginning and we'll fight through the alphabet. It's the foundation. Okay you wont remember all the letters, but I want us to try."
"Us?" I look at him questioningly. He smiles and nods with satisfaction.
"Yes, it's we who are struggling?"
I don't understand what he meant. I'm the only one who needs to fight, and he can already his letters.
"I can't even write my name." I say hoarsely. He meets my gaze and he seems to think.
"Do you want to write your name?"
"It would be pretty good, since you have to write the name on any paper?"
He laughs a little bit and he nods.
"Then we start there. We'll write your name and your name contains an A."
If you have ever taught yourself to write your name, in older age. Then you know what I mean. It was wonderful to write my name over and over again. Sara, it sounded like a nice name and the letters looked nice. It was as if my hand learned my name and I enjoyed, even though I knew that I would forget about it later.
"You will soon have a test in English."
I was startled and I looked up at Jamie. He looks at me with his gray eyes, and so far, they are friendly.
"Did you study?"
I shook my head quickly. He already knew the answer and yet he smiles.
"I have a proposal." he says, and he generally looks pleased. "I'm sitting and studying for the exam, along with you. I read through the text aloud to you and you try to memorize it."
I sighed directly.
"But I can't..."
He interrupts me.
"I'm with you when you take the test in another room. I read the questions, you answer, and I write."
I startled. What a clever idea. Yet, I hesitate.
"But the teacher will..."
"I have already told him what to do."
I still hesitate.
"And where are we going to sit and study?"
"At your home?"
Direct I was shaking my head. I don't want him to see how I live and where I live. It would be embarrassing and I just didn't want him to see my mom. Jamie calms me down and he understands that I refuse.
"With me, I live in an apartment on the other side of town, but I can pick up with my car?"
I hesitate again.
"So can students come home to teachers home?"
He laughs again, and he nods.
"Yes, for that purpose, you are welcome to my home."
I try to calm myself down. What choice do I have?
"Okay?" I whisper quickly. "But don't think I'm coming home to you because of other things?"
He nods quickly and he gets serious.
"Yes Sara. You're my student, and I know where the limits are."
I was happy.
I had no friends and I was never home at other peoples places, that's why I was almost shocked when I entered the apartment. It was clean and he got new furniture. It was as if I showed up in an IKEA catalog and everything was perfect. I took off my shoes and jacket, then I sneaked around in his living room. Jamie was almost amused.
"Want to see all the rooms?"
I nodded with wide eyes. He showed me the kitchen. It was clean and I saw that he had cabinets filled with everything you needed. It was so clean and the kitchen table was ready to be used. It even smelled sweet. It was as if he had just scrubbed everything with scented cleaning fluids and everything smelled fresh. He had a large bedroom with a bubble bed and also there were all clean. He had lights that worked, and a toilet that was totally wonderful.
"Is there something wrong?" he asks, puzzled. "You're so quiet?"
I swallow and I choose my words.
"I just like your home." I whisper quickly. "It's so clean and so nice."
He laughs a little bit.
"Yes, I'm a bachelor, but I know that you have to keep your home in order."
I sat on the couch and Jamie took out the book. I leaned back and I heard how he began to read to me. It was about old writers, books and a bit of English history. I enjoyed because it was the first time in a long time that I really learned something. Sometimes he looked at me, to see if I listened, then I smiled and I showed that I was interested.
It started to get late.
"You should call home?" he asked. I shook my head quickly.
"No, my mom is.... busy tonight."
He raises the eyebrows and he seems to see at me that I don't tell the whole truth.
"Shall I take you home?"
I wanted to stay. I wanted to remain in his home and I wanted to sleep on his wonderful sofa. It was softer than my bed, but I knew I couldn't stay. He was a teacher and he saw me as his student, which I understood.
He smiled and he put together the book.
"Tomorrow we'll read it again, but then I will ask questions."
I nodded. I didn't mind being at home with him, hear his wonderful voice and sit on his couch.
"You have done well."
Okay, he went a little too far.
"I have just listened to what you read?"
He nodded happily.
"And because you are doing that well. A typical student had grown tired and done something else., You chose to listen all the time. It's worth a celebration?"